Arizona Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Prediction, Odds, Depth Charts (12/3/23)

The Arizona Cardinals will weather the unfamiliar cold Sunday (12/3/23) as they visit the Pittsburgh Steelers. Get Cardinals vs. Steelers odds, picks and predictions below. Our best bet is Steelers -5.5.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Prediction

The Arizona Cardinals hold the dubious distinction of owning the worst record in the NFL amongst teams that actually control their own first-round draft pick this year. That qualifier only relevantly cuts out the Carolina Panthers, but it’s an important one. Of all of the NFL teams potentially tanking, nobody is doing it better than Arizona. They have some stiff competition in the New England Patriots of all teams. By reactivating QB Kyler Murray, the Cardinals haven’t done much to help themselves. Murray won his first game since coming off of the IR, but Arizona has dropped the two ensuing contests.

Their opponent this week will be the surprisingly successful Pittsburgh Steelers, who are squarely within the wild-card hunt in a stacked AFC with a 7-4 record. As a classic Pittsburgh team that relied on physical, defensive football and ground-based offense, they Steelers been on both ends of some of the ugliest results you can imagine, but things are looking up.

After much-maligned offensive coordinator Matt Canada was dismissed last week, the Steelers put up over 400 yards of offense for the first time in 59 games. That snapped by far the longest such active drought in the NFL. The streak lines up eerily with Canada’s time in Pittsburgh, as it started early in the 2020 regular season. Its snapping is a real feather in the cap of interim OC Eddie Faulkner.

With a now-competent offense, the Steelers are suddenly extremely dangerous. The defense has long been ready to contend. The team miraculously owned a significantly-positive win/loss record across the offense’s prolonged cold streak due to their defensive excellence. All they needed was support in the form of an offense that could simply take what’s given to it, and when it comes to playing the Cardinals, plenty of gifts come your way on that side of the football.

At this point in the season, we need to start handicapping motivation as well. The Steelers are surely newly energized after the reign of Canada came to a close. And when it comes to the playoff race they can smell blood in the water. Two of their division rivals, the Bengals and Browns, are missing their QBs for the rest of the year. The Steelers are just a game and a half behind the Ravens for first place with a remaining chance to secure the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Conversely, the Cardinals have nothing to play for. Losing is a positive for the franchise, and even though the players will still play their hardest, it’s going to be hard to kick into the higher gear needed to win in tough road environments in the NFL.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Prediction: Steelers -5.5

Arizona Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Best Odds

The Steelers are 5.5 point favorites at home, or -250 on the moneyline. The Cardinals are +200 to pull off the upset, while the total of 41 offers odds of -110 on both sides.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Key Injuries

The Cardinals are largely healthy, but contributors like wideout Michael Wilson and DB Antonio Hamilton Sr. are listed as questionable, while key safety Minkah Fitzpatrick is also questionable for Pittsburgh.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Key Matchups

Arizona’s surprisingly solid rushing offense will attack a relative weak spot for the Steelers defense, and Pittsburgh will also be running the ball against a very weak overall Cardinals defense.

Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Offense vs. Arizona Cardinals Ground Defense

Expect a big game from Jaylen Warren this week. Before a bit of a hiccup against the Bengals, he had rushed for 88, 101, and 129 yards in his previous three games, as he finally starts to realize the top-rusher potential many saw in him before the season. Najee Harris has slipped a bit, but still leads the team in rushing and had a great performance against Cincy. The O-line has been fine, not excellent, but we’ll see if they can take a step up with better playcalling to put them in better situations.

Pittsburgh’s ground offense ranks eighth in DVOA, and they’re facing the rushing defense that grades as the league’s third-worst by the same measure. They’re surrendering 4.5 yards per rush this year, and more than a touchdown per game. Their front seven has had essentially no positives, as PFF, which grades on the player-level, considers their run-stopping efforts to be the league’s weakest thus far.

Arizona Cardinals Rushing Offense vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Ground Defense

Ground offense has been a relative positive for the Cardinals, ranking 15th by DVOA. That’s league-average, which is a real triumph for this team in just about any category. James Conner has been fairly efficient without picking up a ton of volume, and Murray’s return is a huge deal too. He’s averaging 6.1 yards per carry and has already rushed for three scores. Unfortunately, the Arizona O-line hasn’t been great, ranking 29th in PFF’s grading system and 24th by adjusted line yards. But with Murray’s speed and explosiveness, he’s less reliant on line play than most traditional runners.

The Steelers’ rushing defense actually also ranks around league-average by DVOA, 14th to be exact; not bad, but not up to par with the pass defense. A lot of it comes down to the d-line, which has been great in terms of the pass rush but ranks 23rd in adjusted line yards. This likely is due to the play of the interior linemen, as edges TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith have definitely held up their end of the bargain, especially Watt as he builds a case for another Defensive Player of the Year award.

Arizona Cardinals Depth Chart

QB: Kyler Murray
RB1: James Conner
RB2: Keaontay Ingram
LWR: Marquise “Hollywood” Brown
RWR: Michael Wilson
SWR: Rondale Moore
TE1: Trey McBride

Pittsburgh Steelers Depth Chart

QB: Kenny Pickett
RB1: Najee Harris
RB2: Jaylen Warren
LWR: Diontae Johnson
RWR: George Pickens
SWR: Allen Robinson II
TE1: Pat Freiermuth

Best NFL Betting Promo Codes

From starting my own blog in Middle School, to working on a friend’s in college, and finally joining the Lineups team this year, I’ve been writing about sports for over a decade and betting on them as long as I’ve been legally able. I graduated from the University of Michigan last year, where I took sports journalism classes alongside my business major. Having played and watched sports for almost my whole life, I aim to provide insight and entertainment, as well as profitable picks, in my writing about professional and collegiate leagues.

Hot NFL Stories